Frequently Asked Questions

Is PTAsocial only for PTAs? What about PTFAs or Friends Associations?

PTAsocial is aimed at all sorts of parent and teacher organisations, home school associations, Friends Associations, PTAs, PTFAs, PAs, PTOs, Parent Councils and any group of parents, carers or teachers who organise community and fundraising events for their school. You get the picture!

How exactly does the easy volunteering rota work?

Event organisers can create an event on PTAsocial and list out the little tasks that need doing, or list the timeslots that need to be filled. They they send an email invitation to all their community members registered on PTAsocial, and also provide a link for new members to sign up via their email. Email recipients simply click the link to go straight to the event, see what needs doing and click on any task or timeslot to volunteer for specific things. The rota is automatically kept up to date.

Will our events and news be visible to anyone on the internet?

No, PTAsocial offers a secure private social network so only approved registered users will have access to the community events and news. This provides reassurance to those who are reluctant to share details in public forums like Facebook or open blogs. It’s also great for people who might not want to mix ‘home’ friends with ‘school’ social circles.

How will we explain how it works to the parents in our school?

Our customers tell us that it’s just dead simple and intuitive for the volunteers who use PTAsocial.  For event organisers although there is a little more to do in setting up events and task, it’s still really straight-forward. When you upgrade, we’ll guide you via email at every step, and have guides about how to launch, why join and how to grow. We also have extensive Support Pages and a support team is there just in case.

How do parents sign up to use PTAsocial in our school?

You can invite individual members from the app. If you already have a list of emails you want to add, these can also be uploaded in bulk. You can also publish a self-registration button or link to your school website, facebook page etc. When people sign up, they only gain access once they are approved by the committee.

Do you need a smartphone to use PTAsocial?

No, you can access the PTAsocial web app from any internet browser, e.g. on your desktop computer. PTAsocial is designed in a responsive way, so it will look good on any device. Smartphones are particularly handy because they conveniently allow browsing and volunteering on the go, even in the school playground.

How do we know whether people will use it? Many parents are nervous about using technology.

We know that an app isn’t always the answer to everything! However we have designed the app to be intuitive and simple, to the point that the next best alternative is so much harder!  You can carry on using other communication methods in parallel if you wish, but we are confident you’ll find people returning to the app just because it’s more convenient for them.

How can we cater for parents who don't have access to the internet? Won't this exclude people?

Although there are a very small number of parents without easy access to the internet, this is becoming a rare situation. All the same, we have built in convenient way to provide print outs,  and update rotas on behalf of others. In fact, PTAsocial provides further opportunities to be more inclusive. Publishing detailed information online gives wider access to working parents, as well as making it accessible to people with disabilities (e.g. visual impairments) or those with difficulty with the English language. In this way, technology actually becomes an enabler.

Why is PTAsocial any different to using Facebook, Twitter, a school blog or website, or just email?

Most of  these communication methods allow two-way communication. However, the advantage of PTAsocial is that the information is structured in such a way that takes the pressure off organisers to manage all the conversation threads. It is so much less work for the organisers when the parents and helpers just organise themselves by volunteering directly for any little thing. It really will make your life so much easier! Try it and see!

If we still use traditional methods, won't this just be extra work for us as well as using paper rotas?

We’ve made it really easy to print out the latest event attendee list, or list of volunteers helping out with tasks. You can easily check paper rotas if necessary, and assign those volunteers slots via your mobile to avoid double-booking and make the online rota up to date. However our customers find that using PTAsocial exclusively is what makes the biggest difference in terms of time-saving. It’s a dramatic change to how you organise events as you can simply let volunteers organise themselves, and just keep track!

How will this make things better for our committee?

PTAsocial offers a genuinely useful way to share information about events and PTA news with parents and teachers. It highlights the work of the committee in a transparent way, and makes it easy to farm out the small tasks so the committee members can focus on the remaining tasks. It’s great for re-using and sharing information about events and local resources, making handover to new committees much easier. PTAsocial steps up the conversation and level of communication with all parents, making it a more sociable and interactive community.

How will this make things better for our parents?

PTAsocial offers a safe and private social network to connect with other parents in school, without having to find them on Facebook or share email addresses. It’s a great way to discuss class news and socials. What’s more, parents can tailor their preferences so they only hear about things they care about and don’t end up on the receiving end of annoying, long-lasting group emails! So PTAsocial is much more convenient, and gives parents more control.

Why should we engage parents in this way?

The majority of parents in most schools are either unable or unwilling to attend PTA meetings, but that does not mean that they are uninterested in helping.

  • The more information that is available to engage them, the more chance they’ll begin to participate.
  • The better the opportunity to volunteer for smaller tasks, the lower the barrier to volunteering.
  • The easier it is to organise events, the more likely they are to volunteer to manage one.

The benefits to the children become clearer, the parents feel a sense of pride in participation, the community grows stronger and the PTA funds boom as a result. It’s a virtuous circle!

If we sign up for the free version, do we have to upgrade and pay at some point?

No, the free version is supported by discreet advertising (no spam though – just advertising banners in the emails you send from the PTA to the parents) . You only pay if you choose to remove these adverts.

Do we have to download the app? Which phones or desktops does it work on?

PTAsocial is a web app so it does not need to be downloaded, it is just accessed by typing in the website http://service.ptasocial.com. It works on any device that has a web browser, such as a desktop PC or Mac, laptop, tablet (iPad etc), as well as phones with web browsing capabilities. If you do experience any issues with your particular phone, just let us know and we’ll help you!

Where do I log in to PTAsocial?

The first time a parent registers, they need to use the unique link for your PTA community. The easiest way for parents to find it is from your school or PTA website. We provide a registration or login button for you to place there (See the Manage page). Once logged in it’s also a good idea to save the web page on your desktop, tablet or phone browser. It can either be saved as  bookmark, shortcut or an app icon on your phone home screen in the usual way. Once they have registered, this generic link works for login: http://service.ptasocial.com – or just go to ptasocial.com and click menu option “Log In”.

Which browsers does the PTAsocial app work on?

We recommend using the latest versions of browsers – please keep them up to date for best results. Chrome v41+, Firefox v31+, Safari v7+, Opera or Internet Explorer V9+. Find out here what browser you are using. Also ensure you enable Javascript.

How often will new features be released?

We believe in ‘agile’ development methods, which means we can alter the product development roadmap in response to customer needs and priorities. We listen carefully to our customers and are able to react to the consensus view by releasing new features little and often, either monthly or even weekly at times. Tell us what you want from PTAsocial [email protected]

Will we have to download a new version to use new features?

No, you will automatically access the latest version of PTAsocial on your browser the next time you access or refresh your web page.

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